6 Kickstarter-Funded Films Win Awards at SXSW
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Jim Cummings took home the Grand Jury Award for Narrative Feature for his Kickstarter-funded film, Thunder Road, while Kickstarter alum Hao Wu won the Grand Jury Award for Documentary Feature for his new film, People’s Republic of Desire.
“It’s always been Kickstarter’s aim to be the the home of exceptional, creatively ambitious film projects that explore the form to the fullest. We’re so proud of the Kickstarter-funded SXSW award winners, who all more than meet that aspiration,” says Elise McCave, Kickstarter’s Director of Narrative Film. “Congratulations, everyone — we can’t wait to see what you make next.”
Read on to learn more about these six films, and join us in giving a big round of applause to the filmmakers who received awards this year — and the backers who made these films possible.
Winner, Narrative Feature Competition
Director: Jim Cummings
Jim Cummings came to Kickstarter in September 2017 to turn his short film, Thunder Road (which IndieWire called one of the best shorts ever made), into a full-length feature. The short serves as the opening scene of the film, which follows police officer Jim Arnaud as he struggles to improve his relationship with his daughter while coming to grips with the death of his mother.
248 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.
Special Jury Recognition for Writing
Director/Screenwriter: Nijla Mu’min
Seventeen-year-old Summer — a shape-shifting, pepperoni-loving Instagram celebrity — finds her world turned upside down when her mother converts to Islam. As she grapples with her identity, her faith, and her relationship with her mother, she becomes drawn to the teachings of Islam, particularly the mythology surrounding the supernatural beings known as the jinn.
"Kickstarter allowed us to build and engage with the audience of our film… in a way that may not have been possible if we had waited for someone to finance it,” says director and screenwriter Nijla Mu’min. “Each day, I received messages from people who related to the story on a personal level. This let me know that the film was necessary.”
398 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.
Special Jury Recognition for Best Feminist Reconsideration of a Male Artist
Director: Sasha Waters Freyer
Through hundreds of thousands of photographs, Garry Winogrand created an encyclopedic portrait of American life from the late 1950s to the early 1980s. When he died unexpectedly in 1984, he left behind more than 10,000 rolls of film. Sasha Waters Freyer’s documentary excavates these images, along with hours of never-before-seen 8mm films, to create the first cinematic survey of Winogrand’s legacy.
285 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.
Short Film Grand Jury Awards
Special Jury Recognition for Acting, Shirley Chen
Vimeo Staff Picks Award
Director: Danny Madden
Screenwriters: Danny Madden, Will Madden
Shaken by a recent traumatic experience, high school student Krista uses a performance in her theater class to work through her feelings of paralyzing distress and unease. The team behind Krista just launched a new Kickstarter project to turn it into a feature film.
21 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.
SXSW LUNA® Gamechanger Award — Narrative, Special Jury Recognition
Director: Suzi Yoonessi
Based on writer and actor Charlene deGuzman’s own experiences with sex and love addiction, Unlovable follows Joy, a sex and love-addicted woman who discovers true intimacy through a creative partnership with a reclusive musician. We recently spoke with deGuzman about the experience of making the film; read the interview here.
509 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.
SXSW LUNA® Chicken & Egg Award — Documentary, Special Jury Recognition
Director: Jenny Murray
Jenny Murray’s documentary preserves the vanishing stories of the women who played a vital role in Nicaragua’s 1969 Sandinista Revolution, and chronicles their ongoing fight for social equality four decades later.
467 backers helped bring this project to life on Kickstarter.
Support the next SXSW award-winner — explore live film projects on Kickstarter here.